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US$20-m of African Development Bank to support Africa’s housing SMEs

US$20-m of African Development Bank to support Africa’s housing SMEs

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$20 million to boost the availability of Trade Finance (TF) instruments to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in real estate and construction related activities in Africa, according to reports from Tunis.

The money is due to be chanelled through the Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa/Shelter Afrique (SHAF), reports added.

Some observers believe AfDB’s gesture, although insufficient, constitutes a vital lifeline for under-resourced organisations working to provide affordable housing in Africa.

Africa’s housing crisis continues to worsen day by day, as the population grows and rapid urbanisation strangle the natural resources-rich but impoverished continent, putting a tremendous pressure on existing infrastructure.

“Economic growth, exponential urbanisation and a growing middle class are hampering the provision of adequate housing in Africa,” AfDB said.

The construction industry is growing at 20%, but this cannot sufficiently address the rising demand for housing partly due to a wide financing gap for construction and building materials, the Tunis-based financial institution added.

“The public and private sectors have so far been unable to deliver sufficient resources to meet this expanding working capital requirement. Where funding is available, pricing remains prohibitive.”

More than 50 years after independence from colonialist Europe, millions of Africans still struggle to put a decent roof over their head, as economic mismanagement, dictatorship and lack of financial transparency pollute governments.

Photo:  A township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: Daily Mail

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